CU men's basketball preview: Penn State
MATCHUP: Colorado Buffaloes (10-1) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (8-3).
GAME TIME: Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. MST, Orleans Arena, Las Vegas.
BROADCAST: Radio -- KKZN (760 AM).
COACHES: Colorado — Tad Boyle, sixth season (118-69, 174-135 overall); Penn State — Patrick Chambers, fifth season (64-78, 106-106 overall).
LEADERS: Colorado — Scoring: F Josh Scott, Sr., 19.0 ppg; Rebounding: Scott, 9.3 rpg; Assists: G Dom Collier, So., 3.9 apg. Penn State — Scoring: F Brandon Taylor, Sr., 15.6 ppg; Rebounding: Taylor, 6.4 rpg; Assists: G Shep Garner, So., 2.8 apg.
NOTABLE: The teams met previously just once nearly 77 years ago, with the Buffs posting a 29-26 win at Penn State on Jan. 2, 1939...Josh Scott has scored at least 20 points in five consecutive games. He has averaged 21.6 points and 10 rebounds during that span...The Buffs have scored at least 80 points in a program-record 10 consecutive games...While Tuesday's contest will not be televised, Wednesday's game against either Kent State or SMU will air on Fox Sports 1.
Colorado's 10-1 record has a pleasant ring to it.
It's also a mark that will make the CU men's basketball team one of the hottest teams in the Pac-12 Conference when league play begins late next week.
One hurdle remains, however, before the Buffaloes can set their sights on the pursuit of a league title. CU will enjoy an opportunity to take on an 8-3 Penn State squad out of the Big Ten Conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, and a victory likely will give the streaking Buffaloes a chance to test their winning streak against a ranked opponent.
Assuming No. 18 SMU gets past Kent State on Tuesday and the Buffs take care of business against Penn State, CU can make a case for a spot among the nation's Top 25 — a designation that already is drawing closer for the Buffs. Although CU dropped one spot when the latest AP Top 25 poll was released Monday, falling from fourth among the others receiving votes to fifth, CU actually picked up six more points in this week's vote.
"We've taken care of our business going back to the Iowa State game — and that was one we'd like to have back—but if you ask any coach on our staff, maybe any player on our team, 11 games in going to Vegas would you take 10-1, I think the answer would probably be yes," head coach Tad Boyle said. "We've got some momentum. Again, (Hampton) was a step forward. We're still a team that can still improve. We still have room for improvement.
"But ... every game from here on in is going to be a big-time opponent, big-time atmosphere, hopefully. We know our margin for error goes way down, given where we are in our schedule. Our guys, they rise to the occasion and I think they're anxiously awaiting that part of the season."
Penn State will bring a three-game winning streak into Tuesday's contest, but the Nittany Lions have faced just one team from a Power 5 conference and suffered a 10-point loss at No. 20 George Washington two weeks ago.
"We just have to continue playing our basketball," CU redshirt sophomore George King said. "Inside and out, read and react — Colorado basketball. Just because we're going to Vegas doesn't mean we have to shoot a hundred thousand shots or change anything we've been doing here in Colorado. We're going to play our game."
Gordon good to go
Despite suffering a bone bruise to his right knee during Saturday's victory against Hampton, junior forward Wesley Gordon will not be sidelined for Tuesday's contest against Penn State.
Gordon was sent for x-rays after knocking knees with a Hampton player and did not return after exiting late in the first half, but Gordon is expected to return to the starting lineup Tuesday night.